Sky Lab: Kepler’s Dream (2016)

18 August – 25 September 2016
La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre Gallery, Bendigo
Curator: Felicity Spear


Sam Leach Chair for Rock 2015-16 (Granite, bluestone, steel, automotive paint)

While humans are arguably the ‘caretakers’ of a vulnerable space capsule we call Earth, we keep extending our reach searching for faint whispers from beyond and speculating. What’s out there? How does it work ? Are we alone?

In the light filled and darkened spaces of the Latrobe University Arts Centre in Bendigo, nine contemporary artists respond to a world observed through the lens of science in a complex physical universe. In the process they bring to life the ideas of the remarkable 17th century German astronomer Johannes Kepler which are still prescient today.

Among a number of scholarly texts which Kepler wrote about astronomy and optics was a fictional story which he titled Somnium, (The Dream). It was written as a guide for an adventurous lunar expedition, dreaming of a possible future by imagining from his observations a way in which humans might travel to the moon and look back to see Earth from another perspective. Some regard this story as the earliest science fiction . It was in fact a veiled allegory to promote the Copernican view of a sun centred universe, which was regarded with deep suspicion in his tumultuous century. Above all however Kepler hoped that through an awareness of the physical world humans would come to realize the odds against them in the grip of the vast forces shaping their environment. In the twenty first century artists who are inspired by scientific interpretations of nature are inevitably confronted with these concerns.

The artists work with a diverse range of media, including the camera obscura, starlight exposed film, digtal prints, solargraphs, 3D constructions, video and painting. Included in the exhibition are Dan Armstrong, Magda Cebokli, Lesley Duxbury, Simon Finn, Sam Leach, Harry Nankin, Felicity Spear, Tarja Trygg (Finland) and Paul Uhlmann.


Sky Lab Project Presentation
Felicity Spear

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